The Nine Sons of the Dragon

The dragon, one of the totems of ancient China, symbolizes good fortune in Chinese culture and folklore. According to legend the dragon has the head of a bull, the horns of a deer, the eyes of a lobster, the body of a snake, the claws of a hawk and the tail of a lion ... surely a creature that only lives in the imagination.

According to Chinese folklore the dragon has nine sons. Each has its own assigned duty with its own likes and dislikes. Because of these assigned duties they were often used to decorate the eaves, ridges, balustrades and terrace bases of ancient Chinese buildings, vessels and weapons. The names and habits of the dragon's nine sons vary between different records of the period, but the real question is: "Did the ancient Chinese people give the nine sons of the dragon different characters according to their decorative uses or give them different decorative uses according to their names?" When walking through the Imperial Palace one of our objectives was to locate and identify as many of the Nine Sons of the Dragon as we could. We managed to find only four.



"Jiao Tu" is obedient and well behaved, so he is inscribed on the gate piers of palaces, gardens and residences.



"Chi Shou " can extinguish fires, so the ancient Chinese placed him on the corners of palace terraces as a prayer for security from fire.


"Caho Feng " is fearless and loves to take risks, so the ancient Chinese used Caho Feng to decorate the corners of the palace roofs.



"Chi Wen " likes to scale heights and look into the distance, so he is put on the top of roof intersections. (Photo courtesy of my brother-in-law, John).



Anne rubbing Caho Feng for good luck.




Continue to the next page to discover the beauty of the Imperial Palace gardens ...
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Welcome to our China 2001 Photo Album
Planning and Getting there: Grand Circle Tours and Northwest Airlines
Beijing : Arriving in Beijing | Tiananmen Square | The Imperial (Forbidden) Palace (1) | The Imperial Palace (2) | The Nine Sons of the Dragon
The Imperial Palace Garden | The Summer Palace | Summer Palace (2) | Summer Palace (3) | Summer Palace (4) | Local Beijing Market
Local Beijing Market (2) | Hutong | Bell Tower | Hutong Family, Dinner and the Opera | Cloisonné Factory | Ming Tombs | Ming Tombs (2)
Great Wall of China at Ba Da Ling | Temple of Heaven
Shanghai : Arriving Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden | Yuyuan Garden (2) | The Temple of the Jade Buddha | The Bund | Day Excursion to Suzhou
Silk Process | The Administrator's Garden of Suzhou | Shanghai Museum of Art
Cruising the Yangtze River : Yangtze Cruise, Day 1 | Yangtze Cruise, Day 2 | The Xiling and Wu Gorge | The Lesser Three Gorges
The Lesser Three Gorges (2) | The Qutang Gorge | Wanxian | The Last Day of Cruising | Regal China Cruise Lines
Chongqing : Chongqing
Xi'an : Xi'an and Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors | Emperor's Qin's Terracotta Warriors (2) | Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an City Wall
Quilin : The Limestone Peaks of the Li River | The Limestone Peaks of the Li River (2) | Guilin and the Childrens Park | Children's Park (2) and Reed Flute Cave
The Hotels: Hotels, rail and air travel in China
Hong Kong : Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Aberdeen Fishing Village | Hong Kong at Sunset | Hong Kong Bird & Flower Market
| New Territories Fishing Village | Hong Kong Farewell Dinner
Bangkok : Jim Thompson House and Golden Buddha | The Flower Market | The Food Vendors | Grand Palace | Mystical Figures | Brightly Painted Masks on Mystical Figures
Golden Mystical Figures | Buildings of the Grand Palace | Lunching at the Shangri La Hotel | Loy Nava Rice Barge Cruise | Ayutthaya, Ancient Capital of Siam
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and the Reclining Buddha | Bang Pa In, The Summer Palace |

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